Signifier / Signified.
TopShop have less chance of seeing it now that it has been blown over, I think to myself. That’s a small mercy. But it is still a terrible thing to exist.
I am on a suburban street, looking at the front garden of a house.
Although having nothing against these sort of less-than-ten-year-old houses, or indeed the streets that they are on, I find the huge ‘developments’ that contain them deeply alarming.
I get lost in them. Very easily. Everything looks the same and there are – intentionally, I think – no landmarks. You feel as though you may never leave.
Everybody drives the same car, all of which are parked on identical driveways. The cars may be very different for all I know, but they all look the same.
The front garden of this house is not obviously unremarkable or unwelcoming. No wall or fence around the front. An expanse of grass, with some inoffensive evergreen shrubbery. There is, in the centre, a small wooden placard with some text upon it staked into the lawn and that has been blown over in the recent gales. However, it is still readable. I stare at it. I start to think about the occupants of the house attached to this garden, and the general thinking thereof:
Maurice: Oh God Mildred. It can’t be Saturday already. We did it last month surely?
Mildred: No no. Not that. I can see you’re busy with your Hornby train set so I shan’t trouble you for long…..I SAY! Is that a papier-mâché evocation of the Penines?
Maurice: [Smug] Mmmm.
Mildred: VERY good if I may say. Anyway. Our front garden.
Maurice: Hardly the Penines is it?
Mildred: Quite right. QUITE RIGHT. Oooh if you keep agreeing with me Saturday may come early.
Maurice: [Under his breath] Oh sweet Jesus no.
Mildred: Anyway. It just doesn’t seem very welcoming at the minute does it?
Maurice: What the hell? What is this nonsense now woman? And where is my dinner? ‘Welcoming’ for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. What are you blathering about? It’s the front garden. Put a sign up or something.
I am staring at the little wooden sign that has been staked into the centre of the garden of this particular abode. Although it has blown over, the pedestrian can still read it. As I can.
I realise that although this is not America, and that this particular estate may not employ a private security firm that will shortly Taser me, it may be time to move on.
Whatever. The seasonal North Wind has made this scenario a very distant possibility:
Interior. Day. Corporate Headquarters of TopShop or any other manky High Street clothing emporium selling dreams of whoredom to twelve-year-olds. And that, oddly, are only actually frequented by slightly tense-looking women in their forties who can be seen asking after Size 12’s and getting laughed at.
Exec 1: We are running out of disgustingly suggestive slogans to put on pastel-pink size 8 crop-tops that are ‘aimed’ at women in their ‘twenties’ but that we cannot ‘prevent’ 11-year-old girls from buying.
Exec 2: Tell me about it. That one that was an anagram for ‘EASY’ took forever.
Exec 3: It’s a headache now. They’ve stopped selling. You know the problem? They’re not subtle enough. I mean. The last one said ‘I will merrily take it up the wrong’un for no babies’. That’s not even a play on words.
Exec 1: He’s right. These are size 8 for fucks sake. No ADULT is going to buy them, and no adult will buy them for their pubescent daughters – no matter how much they pester them – if they allude REALLY OBVIOUSLY to minge- or indeed bumhole-activity.
Exec 4: [He has remained silent until now. He knows he has the upper hand.] Yeah. Subtle. So that a kid would know it were filth, but it could easily not be, so that she could get ‘cross’ if some bloke took it the ‘wrong way’. And still get their mother to buy it them when Mam realises t’won’t fit’em emselves.
Exec 2: Alright Madchester. Affecting a Mancunian accent is totally 1998.
Exec 4: As is saying ‘totally’, Beverly Hills 90210.
Exec 2: Fuck you.
Exec 4: Naw man. Fuck YOU.
Exec 1: Fucks sake come on. I want to score some toot before the day is out. What is it big shot?
Exec 4: I saw it on way ‘ome. A sign in a front lawn that ‘ad almost blown down. The kiddy-fiddler-wannabee-victims will lap it up and their Mam’s will never get it.
[Everyone is holding their breath]
Exec 4: ‘Welcome To My Garden’
CEO walks in.
CEO: I’ve been listening. Exec 4, you are promoted. Your ideas of over-sexualising the barely adult will, if accepted by society in a relatively short period of time, help my upcoming court case – I can’t talk about it really. She looked at least 13. Here is a one hundred thousand dollar bonus.
Fade to black.